PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley on Monday ripped Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., for equating Black Lives Matter with “anarchy” in a speech at the Republican National Convention.
After Clarke shouted “blue lives matter” and ripped the Black Lives Matter movement for violating the “code of conduct we rely on,” Smiley was asked by MSNBC’s Brian Williams for his reaction.
“It is always easy to find these sort of political sycophants who are willing to stand up and advance these sort of simple slogans and rosy rhetoric but can’t get to a real conversation about what’s at stake here,” Smiley said. “What’s at stake here is not just the lives of cops. And there’s no one in the country who doesn’t believe that blue lives matter, indeed they do. The question is when do we get around to appreciating, to valuing the sanctity, the humanity, and the dignity of black life? That’s what’s at stake. That’s why Black Lives Matter is in the streets protesting.”
Smiley later told Rachel Maddow that the mindset of Black Lives Matter naysayers was “scapegoating.”
“It’s scapegoating. And that’s what happens when you don’t want to address the issue that’s at stake. Again, I repeat, it’s about the humanity, and the dignity, and the sanctity of black life.”
Clarke, a Democrat who is black, had roused the convention crowd by screaming “blue lives matter” in support of the police.
“What we witnessed in Ferguson, in Baltimore, and in Baton Rouge was a collapse of social order,” Clarke said. “So many of the actions of the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter transcend peaceful protest, and violates the code of conduct we rely on. I call it anarchy.”